Monday, October 31, 2011

Vegan Mofo Wrap Up

I was hoping to get in a few more Vegan Mofo posts this past week, unfortunately Chuck & I caught a nasty cold. We got about halfway through a task I was going to post about, making pumpkin pie from a pie pumpkin, before coming down with the Halloween Cough of 2011. So there is currently a bunch of fresh pumpkin puree in our fridge. Kitty is happy! We usually buy her canned pumpkin on a veterinarian's recommendation to help her digestive system. It's definitely the first time she's had it fresh. Anyway, there will probably be a pumpkin pie post coming up soon even though Vegan Mofo is over. November is another great month for cooking!

I really enjoyed following all of the new blogs posting about vegan food this month. As I was reading them, I also kept track of some of my favorites using Pinterest, a great site for making visual lists. I'm sure I will be coming back to this list for inspiration for a long time. 

Also, I won bowls from VeganDish! There were lots of great giveaways all month on the VeganMofo blog, but this was probably my favorite one and I still can't believe I won them. We actually have one large serving bowl I bough Chuck for Christmas one year a few years back, and it matches this set nicely. Even more inspiration to keep cooking great vegan dishes!

Also, Happy Halloween! I hope no one else is sick this year like we are!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Vegan Mofo: Spider Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes w/Cream Cheese Frosting

With bats Spider Cupcake

With Halloween Bat wrappers too! These were made using the standard chocolate cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and half of the Cream Cheese Icing recipe, since I didn't want piles of it on top of the cupcakes this time. Tofutti cream cheese was marked down a bit on our last trip to Whole Foods, a fact which makes me very tempted to buy several more containers and make cheesecakes, more cupcakes, and whatever other kinds of treats I can come up with. Vegan cream cheese is one of my favorite things.

I picked up the bat wrappers at our Safeway, too cute to pass up. And I was thrilled to get the Martha Stewart Cupcake Stencils on discount from Joann Fabrics last week. Unfortunately most of the faces were too big for my little cupcakes, but the spider worked out alright. I will have to start making huge, Martha Stewart sized cupcakes from here on out. I am excited about these stencils, so I may not stop playing with them even after Halloween is over. We could also use a finer sifter for these, the one we had on hand was just a little too course, allowing a bit more cocoa through than I would like. I already have plans to play with this more for Chuck's birthday, which is all the way off in January! He'll get the ravens and the skull and crossbones, though possibly on a larger cake.

The hazelnut flavor came from the cocoa used, Ghirardelli Chocolate Hazelnut Cocoa. Yummy!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Vegan Mofo: Field Roast, Garlic Spread & Fanged Pumpkins

Field Roast Garlic Spread

Field Roast has been a favorite of ours for a long time. We first started eating it in Seattle, which is where it originates from. It was a bit more expensive when we lived in Chicago. This is the celebration loaf stuffed with "a sausage style stuffing made from butternut squash, apples and mushrooms." The stuffing is my favorite part!

We also picked up some more rolls from the Pearl Bakery this weekend. It's covered here in a simple garlic spread made from roasted garlic, blended with olive oil in a food processor. 

Vampire Mini Pumpkins

And then we made some new friends. Based on this great idea from Martha Stewart's site. We even used the templates for mouths she provided. Our fangs aren't plain white like Martha's, but I think they are a little more fun, since they glow in the dark! 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Saturday Market: Perfect Fall Day

Indian Corn

There's so much stuff at the PSU Saturday Market right now. And yesterday was the perfect fall weather. Leaves in the trees, falling from the trees, all over the ground and kids throwing them at their parents. Pretty and entertaining!

Red Cipollini Pepper Wreaths
I was so excited to start seeing some seasonal decor items like the Indian corn and the pepper wreaths! I love when the wreaths come out at the market. The arrangements are amazing, and the prices are pretty low. Of course then you have to pick out your favorite... I also really love that the price tags were on doilies!

Those cipollini onions were a really fun, flat shape extremely satisfying to hold in your palm. 

Nameko Cream of the Crop

We've been really fascinated by the wide variety of squash, and especially like one vendor who does a very through job labeling and describing each type. This week we took home the "cream of the crop" a variant on the acorn squash, but with a sweeter flavor. 

There is also always such a great selection of really beautiful mushrooms. On the left, Nameko mushrooms, which I thought were so pretty. Of course fancy mushrooms are a little pricey, but it's facinating to see all the variety that can be cultivated out here where it's moist.

More pictures of various trips to the PSU Market in this set on flickr! I'm pretty excited, although the Wednesday market near our place ends this week, it's coming back in the winter next year! We'll only end up with two weeks out of the year, in March, when there are no markets around us. Pretty cool, but I think we'll still miss the markets for those weeks!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Vegan Mofo: Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Okay, first off I could not eat all of that in one setting! So I stuffed some of the spill over back in the squash, wrapped in foil for the next day's lunch. Re-heating in the microwave was not hard at all, and it was just as tasty. The stuffing here was actually a leftover rice dish we'd had for dinner the night before. It had some soy curls, various veggies, and well, rice. For the squash dish bread crumbs/panko and carrots were added, plus my favorite part - Maple Syrup. It brought out the acorn squash-y flavor perfectly.  Also, is it just me, or are acorn squashes just really cute? I'm not so sure we won't be bringing another one home from the market tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Portland Walk: Pittock Mansion

Earlier this year we walked up to the Pittock Mansion but didn't take the tour. Shortly thereafter there was a deal on LivingSocial for admission, which I quickly snapped up...but I either seem to use those right away or right before they expire. These tickets were about to expire November 1st. So we got some exercise & hiked up there again and this time we got to see the inside!

Main Stair inside main stair

The main lobby is covered in marble, including frames around the entries to the study, elevator (century old elevator, completed in 1914) and halls off of the lobby. Light fixtures throughout the house were designed by Fred Baker "the foremost lighting designer in Portland" of the time, having also designed fixtures for the Portland Art Museum, the Timberline LodgeThe Ambassador Apartments and many other notable buildings.

Stove Kitchen Tile
The kitchen was actually pretty large. We speculated that the butlers pantry (a room between the kitchen and dinning room where the serving staff would set hot dishes down before serving them) was actually larger than our current kitchen. I was impressed by the restored linoleum flooring pattern's interlocking pattern.

Bedroom Bedroom

The wallpaper in the bedrooms, look at it! Especially the green, I keep looking at that picture, it's lovely. Overall the house has been well restored and is just packed with information. While we were we visiting there were boards up about the anniversary of the Columbus Day storm and it's impact on the mansion. Also neat exhibit in the basement about Henry Pittock and his daughters (Lucy and Kate) interested in hiking and mountaineering. He was in one of the first Mt. Hood climbing parties, before they had proper protection for snowblindness.

Big Slug Crane Migration

Since we did walk up to the house we had time again to take in some of the houses in the area, and also nature! A flock of migrating cranes flew over us as we were heading up the hill. I heard them a few times before they were right above us, and I had been trying to sort out the odd sound. It was not very geese like, plus they seemed pretty big. Some inspection of our pictures and internet research and apparently Portland is right under the migration path and there have been many recent sightings. As a bonus, we saw two great big banana slugs on a mossy wall at the bottom of the hill. I prefer them greatly to the humongous spiders (almost the size of the fake spider Halloween decorations, I swear) I was trying to avoid.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Vegan Mofo: Bombay Chaat House Food Cart

Indian food Indian food

So I've gone a few short days without posting for Vegan Mofo because after we made tofu loaf, the lentil & sausage stew and picked up food from the Bombay Chaat House food cart, we had leftovers for many meals. We got 3 large meals out of the dinner we picked up Friday night at the food cart! 

How to Enjoy Pani Puri
Bombay Chaat house is located 12th & Yamhill, which
is conveniently located for us. The cart is 100% vegetarian and they indicate that they can make most of their dishes vegan upon request. Yay!

In the picture above on the right are some appetizers and sauces. The pillowy crisps are Pani Puri which we had never tried before. The instructions were on the side of the cart (pictured on the left.) They are hollow, and came with a spicy potato mixture, which you put inside and then dip the whole thing in spiced water before eating it. It was very flavorful!

We also had another potato appetizer, the great big ball in the picture on the right was a Batata-Vada. Also very spicy! With two of the veggie dishes, and some vegan friendly naan, we had tons of food. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vegan Mofo: Tofu Loaf with Green Beans

Tofu Loaf w/Tofurky Sausage Bits

Somehow in 10 or so years of cooking vegan I've never tried to make tofu loaf. Tempeh Loaf a few times, but never tofu. Last week I was browsing The Chicago Diner Cookbook and it occurred to me it might be interesting to try. I very loosely followed the recipe in there, substituting oats for sesame seeds, based on suggestions in recipes like this one.  (Oprah even has a recipe for Tofu Loaf. Lots of ingredients in that one.)

I had a larger pan and less tofu on hand (it was 20oz.) than the recipes called for, so I improvised by adding the last two Tofurky sausages we had left. They were chopped and added after blending the tofu (with oil) in the food processor. They did a nice job of making the whole dish less tofu-flavored, which has perhaps been part of the reason I haven't tried it before. It also added some spices (it was the Italian style) in addition to the thyme I added. Other ingredients were shredded carrots (made it yellow!) and chopped onions.

We also had green beans, fresh from the farmer's market, on the side. Based on the suggestion in the Veganomicon, they were simply roasted with some olive oil, salt and pepper.  Also turned a few hoagie rolls, picked up at the Pearl Bakery booth at the Saturday Market, into garlic bread slices. (Not all of their breads are vegan, but they are good about providing ingredient information) Chuck had done that earlier this week. I thought it was clever so I copied it. It made for pretty satisfying garlic bread.

The tofu loaf was good both with the last of our leftover mushroom gravy and without any topping, which we had tonight:

Tofu Loaf, Green Beans & Garlic Bread Tofu Loaf Gravy, Green Beans & Garlic Bread

I can see making tofu loaf again, plus it makes about 3 meals worth of food!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Vegan Mofo: Coffee Cake with Prunes

Coffee Cake with Prunes Coffee Cake with Prunes

I have been looking for an interesting use for those gorgeous prunes we picked up at the market since last week. Shortly after we got them I saw this post (from Naked Vegan Lunch) in the Vegan Mofo rss feed about Hungarian Plum Dumplings. I was seriously considering trying those out right away, but I'm not sure how I feel about potato dough. Maybe another time, plenty of plums still showing up at the markets and I think I may still be intrigued. (As a side note, I've been keeping track of my favorite vegan mofo posts over on Pintrest, which you can see here.)

Then I was just googling, trying to decide what to do and streusels came up, which reminded me of the amazing Cafe Flora Coffee Cake that I hadn't tried to cook up for a long time. While we lived in Seattle I think we tried to each as much of their coffee cake as possible. Anyway, used the recipe from the Cafe Flora Cookbook which has several suggestions for variations of fruits. So I went with Italian prunes and a bit of cinnamon. The prunes were chopped into small chunks in the dough, and I sliced a few to put on top as well. Unfortunately, I am not so sure what I was thinking/doing when I made the crumbly topping, because I used too much margarine. But we saved it. It still tastes amazing, even if it's slightly mushier than it was supposed to be. I certainly don't mind having an excuse to make the coffee cake again in the near future, since it was the main recipe that convinced us we had to have this cookbook!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Finished knit: Two pairs of socks

Lindsay Socks Finished Knit: No Sweat Socks

I got so behind on my blogging, I'm going to go ahead and post about the last two sock projects I did together (and right in the middle of Vegan Mofo...uh, sorry to anyone looking at my feet while trying to sort through food posts in the rss feed.) 

On the left is a pair of hot pink (although the colorway was called Lindsay socks from the pattern in Cookie A.'s Sock Innovation. The yarn was Elann Esprit. On the right was a much simpler project, from No Sheep for You by Amy Singer. The pattern was the No Sweat Socks by Kate Atherley, and I knit them up in the pattern yarn, Knit One Crochet Two's Wick.

No surprise, the lacy ones were a bit tougher. I was making it even more challenging by using fewer stitches around and adjusting the pattern at the heel, etc., to accommodate. The lace pattern itself wasn't too bad at all, although I did find the knitting 4 stitches together a bit hard with this yarn/on small needles. I don't think I'd done a heel and toe construction quite like these before (all in garter stitch, and the toes is seamed on the bottom of the foot) so that made it even more tricky. But it seemed to turn out.

The simpler socks were a pattern that had been in my queue since I got that book a few years ago. I mainly just wanted to try out that wick yarn and see how well it works for socks. So when I saw the yarn in this great maizy-yellow at Yarn Garden on sale, I couldn't resist. I've only worn them once so far, but I like them. I actually find that the larger gauge on this pair is nice, kinda like I'm getting a massage from some knit stitches. I don't mind it!

Okay, now I think I'm caught up with my recent finished knits. Most of the rest of the posts this month will be about vegan food!

Vegan Mofo: Lentil & Sausage Soup

Lentil & Sausage Soup

More soup for weekday lunches! This one used dried lentils, Tofurky sausage, spices, and some of the fresh veggies we picked up at the market: zucchini, assorted peppers, and onion.  You can see the veggies a little bit better in this picture of the pot. Parsley on the top was also fresh from the market, though there wasn't really any in the dish. I was also having some toast with vegan cream cheese on the side, which you can almost see in this picture. We've been having this for lunches though the weekend, and still have a bunch leftover for this week! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Vegan Mofo: Breaded Tofu & Twice Baked Potatoes

Breaded Tofu & Twiced Baked Potato

Breaded tofu with mushroom gravy and twice baked potatoes! Tofu breading was made from wheat germ and flax seed meal and nutritional yeast with spices. The tofu was then baked at about 350 until it browned. the twice baked potatoes were cooked at the same time. Pretty standard preparation for those, using some parsley, garlic and pepper for flavoring.

Mushroom Gravy Mushroom Gravy

The mushroom gravy was made from scratch using leftover flax seed meal, nutritional yeast and wheat germ from the tofu breading along with about 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms and soy milk. We actually had plenty of leftover gravy from this that we've been using on various dishes all weekend.

the Company Sazerac @ The Sweet Hereafter

I have to mention, also, that we finally stopped at the vegan bar The Sweet Hereafter. We just stopped in for a quick drink, but I had "The Company Sazerac" which was lovely. Ever since Kim Dickens' character on Treme threw a Sazerac in food critic Alan Richman's face on this seasons Treme, I've really been wanting to try one. (I love that that's now mentioned in the wikipedia article for Sazerac!) was at the top of the menu and there was no way I could order anything else...Chuck had a North Williams, which also seemed pretty nice! 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Vegan Mofo Day 6: Fancified Tater Tots

Truffle Tots

Loosely inspired by the white truffle fries at Violetta (a food cart which also has a permanent home in Director Park as well) we decided to fancy up some frozen tater tots this week. We happened to have some black truffle oil which does have a somewhat different flavor than the white used at Violetta. After the tots cooked in the oven they were simply sprinkled with the oil, a bit of salt and parsley to dress up a snack!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Vegan Mofo Day 5: Hot Lips Pizza

Hot Lips Pizza

Vegan pizza is everywhere in Portland. When we first moved here we'd take walks and Chuck would tell me which vegan or vegan-friendly pizza place we were closest too along with all their various attributes. He still does that actually, there are just so many we still haven't tried. Wednesday night we ate out (disregarding fridge full of farmer's market goodies cause sometimes it's just nice to eat out, especially if you were out doing stuff and it seemed like a good idea to avoid what the locals called a monsoon.) at Hot Lips Pizza, a local chain. They are a pretty great chain, really attempting to use and sell a lot of local items. They have a large and lovely beer and wine selection, as well as several beers on tap (which is usually what we go for!) They also make their own sodas, also available on tap. 

For this trip the vegan option was loaded with their pesto sauce and veggies (they have several vegan friendly options, as much as I love pesto, I think their squash sauce is my favorite) and they also use daiya vegan cheese. We like it spicy so we also added some habanero sauce and pepperoncinis. We have three or four of their locations we frequent and it's always a comfortable and friendly environment, as well as having great vegan pizza!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vegan Mofo Day 4: Soy Curls

When we moved to Portland last fall I had never heard of Soy Curls. It wasn't long before we became very familiar with them. A lot of the vegan friendly  food carts and restaurants use them in all sorts of dishes. They are dehydrated textured soy protein. They are so common here in Portland because they are made fairly locally, in Grande Ronde, OR by Butler Foods. (Use this link however to find out where to buy in other states!) They look like this when you get them:

Soy Curls

The name sounded like some kind of snack to me when I first heard it. Out of curiosity, I popped one in my mouth to see how edible they are before you cook with them. It can be done and it's not awful but they are way better cooked. Here's our dinner with rice & leftover biscuits from the night before!:

Soy Curl Dinner 
If it had to be compared to meat, I suppose it's most like chicken in texture, but it's pretty refreshing that none of the packaging tries to make the comparison. As with most vegan protein options, it does its own thing, which is being really yummy!

P.S. Soy Curl became our nickname for our cat Lucy this week due to the picture of her curled up in her snugly cat bed!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Vegan Mofo Day 3: Spaghetti Squash and Dinner Rolls

Spaghetti Squach Grandma's Hurry Up Rolls
Spaghetti Squash is a really neat thing! Basically we made a simple sauce with tomato based sauce (and we threw in some broccoli.) We used the squash in place of the pasta. It makes a good side, or a nice light meal. We tried something a little new to us this week and picked up a Stripetti spaghetti squash, which is a hybrid of a traditional spaghetti squash and and delicata squash. (I guessed as much from the stripey appearance & the delicatas nearby at the market) but this ehow page was handy in confirming that. Turns out there are 3 other spaghetti squashes I would love to try.

Also pictured are Granny's Hurry Up Dinner Rolls (link to the recipe from vegweb) Which turned out really well. They have a just bit of sugar in them, but otherwise tasted a lot like rolls my Mom typically makes at thanksgiving, but vegan.

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti Squash

Above is what the squash & its innards actually looked like, simply cut it in two, baked it, & then remove the innards. When we've had traditional spaghetti squash in the past. That variety seemed to produce longer, more linguine like strands. But both of these taste pretty great and are perfect if you're looking for a lighter alternative to pasta.